• A white staircase with wallpapered risers


The hallway is overlooked and underrated when it comes to decorating. Yet the hallway is the first place you and your visitors see when entering your home.  With my step by step guide on how to wallpaper your staircase you will be greeted by pattern and colour every time you come home.  Stair risers (the vertical area under the step or tread) can lend themselves to all kinds of wallpapers giving you the freedom to explore patterns and strong colours you might not necessarily want to use on your walls.


Wallpaper – Feel free to experiment, but take into consideration that the design should make you happy every day and needs to be in keeping with the general style of the rest of your hallway. The image (right) shows Ruth’s stairway, which is decorated using our ‘Grandad’s Stamps’. Other suggested designs include, ‘Graffiti Wall in Moscow’, ‘Tiles D’, ‘Utility Paper’ – ‘Graph’, ‘Grid’ or ‘Ledger’ and finally ‘Stripe’ comes highly recommended, any colour would work.

Tape measure


Metal ruler

Thick card for template

Scissors (or scalpel and cutting board)

Wallpaper paste & brush

Clear water based varnish & roller or brush


Measure one of the risers in the middle of the staircase, horizontally and vertically. Use the dimensions to create a card template using scissors or scalpel. Check that this fits on all the steps – some steps may be different sizes, especially if you live in an older house. The first and last often vary slightly.

On the back of your choice of wallpaper, draw around the template, then cut out the pieces. Measure and cut out any risers that vary from the template. You may want to add a cm or two around the edge and trim with a scalpel when the paper is dry to make sure there are no gaps.

Prepare wooden or painted steps by sanding them down. To achieve the best possible adhesion, the risers need to be lightly sanded down and cleaned.

Make sure the stairs are free of dust, then paste one riser at a time with a layer of wallpaper paste *, and smooth the paper in place. Carefully push out any air bubbles or creases towards the edge of the stairs. Pay particular attention to the edges, ensuring that they are glued in place.

*PLEASE NOTE: The application of wallpaper paste depends on what type of wallpaper you have chosen. For non-woven wallpapers, apply the wallpaper paste directly to the stair riser. For paper-based wallpapers apply the paste to the paper and let it soak. Applying the wallpaper to the stairs is exactly the same with either wallpaper types.

Wait until the glue is totally dry, about 24 hours, then using a brush or roller cover the surface of each riser with two or three coats of clear water based varnish to protect the paper.


The instructions given here are for guidance only and are given in good faith but without warranty, since skill of application and site conditions are beyond my control. 

Posted under Tips on 5.11.20 at 6.37pm
  • A white staircase with wallpapered risers